Teaching English Abroad


Teaching English overseas can be a fun and rewarding way to start your career as a teacher. You’ll be able to experience another culture for an extended period of time, immersing yourself in their language and customs, all while honing your craft as a teacher and making a couple extra travel bucks on the side.

You can teach abroad anywhere, but the most common jobs are found in Asia.  Teaching abroad in Asia jobs are often in Japan, China, and South Korea. There are also some very lucrative opportunities to teach in the Middle East, most commonly in Dubai or Saudi Arabia You should do some research on all the available locations before you make your decision.

Diving into the world of teach abroad can be a bit daunting. First, there are all these acronyms to deal with – EFL is English as a Foreign Language, or simply English as taught in a region where the native language is not English. ESL is English as a Second Language, or English taught in an area where the native language is English, to someone whose first language is something else.

These are types of English teaching positions available, but the most important acronym is for the certification you will need to begin your teaching. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. You can get a TEFL (also called TESL or TESOL) certificate through one of many available certification programs. Also available are CELTA certificates, or Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. We will go over all the certification options in a later blog.

Once you wade through the paperwork and confusing terminology, if you still want to try your hand at teaching English abroad, jobs can be found just about anywhere in the world. Anywhere there is a need to learn English, there is a need for English Teachers. Your students may be young children, college students, business men, or housewives. Most programs will enroll all ages and backgrounds, so be ready for anything- and don’t forget to have fun!

Next time: Teaching English in Madrid.

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  • Student Travel Hostels

    I have learned that the hot spot to teach abroad right now is South Korea. They pay $30-$40K a year, plus the cost of living is really low. And you don’t need a TEFL certificate.

    But I have also learned you need to be careful, because a lot of shady operators have language schools here. I recommend you get your contract to give you 50% upfront if you are on a contract. If you are on salary, you will know after a month if they are really going to pay you or not.

  • Allaina

    I have heard nothing but horror stories from people who teach in South Korea, including a tale from a friend who is Korean. Japan has a higher cost of living, so it is harder to save up as much money. China is cheaper, but pays less, though teachers receive several times the amount a local would make. In countries in SE Asia and Africa, you may pay them to defray the cost of being there. In the end, forget the money if you can and go to the place that interests you most.

  • heidi1122

    Three years ago, while living as an exchange student in Norway, I took an online TEFL certification course. The course cost about $300 and was extremely easy to complete. I thought it would be a sure way to stay in Europe for a while after finishing school. Yet, the downfall is that I have not oficially used the certificate since my completion of the course.

    It is very discouraging that every advertisement on the TEFL website prefers to employ EU citizens, as they do not need working permits in order to stay in Europe. And as most Norwegians speak perfect English, there was not a big demand for English classes.

    However, over the past three years, I have met a number of other foreign exchange students and working individuals living in Norway that need to improve their English skills. I was really surprised at how many foreigners had actually come to Norway to learn English!

    Luckily, I have been been able to earn money teaching English to private students as well as in small groups. So it is possible to teach English in Europe, you just have to be flexible and willing to bend the rules a bit.

  • http://www.volunteervisions.org Travis Taylor

    Although having a TEFL certificate is a valuable asset, you can find teaching opportunities that do not require a course. I work for a company called Volunteer Visions that places volunteers in communities where they are needed throughout the world.

    We have multiple teaching possibilities in countries from Costa Rica to Vietnam and everything in between.

    Rather than taking a class that you might only use once, I think its a better idea to immerse yourself for a few weeks first and then continue with a more intense course and longer experience.

    If you interested or have any questions feel free to email me at socialnet@volunteervisions.org